Collins Elementary School Pits Teachers Versus Students in Collins Cup

Collins Elementary School 5th grade students. Credits: Eric Paragallo
Collins Elementary School 5th grade students. Credits: Eric Paragallo
Collins Elementary School 5th grade teachers Credits: Eric Paragallo

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Thursday night, Collins Elementary School’s fifth graders took on their teachers, their principal and many other faculty members to compete for the Collins School Cup. All money raised by the event, which was emceed by Greer Gelmann, kindergarten teacher and planned by Christopher Perdue, physical education teacher and Stefanie Lichtstein, Chair of the Fifth Grade Committee, will go to the fifth graders’ trip to NYC and end-of-year parties for the students.

The Collins Cup, where the graduating class of fifth graders battles the faculty in various sporting events, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school. Perdue said that the event has only grown in popularity since its inception, six years ago.

“The games are a lot of fun and the kids get excited about them,” said Perdue. “This year, almost all of the fifth graders are here—we have 75 fifth graders that attend Collins and 72 are here tonight.”

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Although the annual event features competitive games of volleyball and basketball between the two sides, and most sporting events award victories to the team with the highest point total—the coveted Collins Cup is not awarded to the team that wins events, but rather to the team who has exhibited the best sportsmanship.

“Our school motto is K and R, kindness and respect,” said Principal John N. Leister. “And, we’ve brought that over to this event.”

Perdue added a similar sentiment. “We try to push away competition with the Collins cup. It’s more about coming together as a community and having fun.

“There’s a significant difference in height,” said Leister referring to the teachers’ taller physical statures as compared to the students, “and there’s a significant difference in energy,” he added, gesturing to a group of children seemingly ceaselessly running the perimeter of the gymnasium, “but we’re all here to have fun.”

However, even with respect and kindness as the overarching motto for the evening, neither Leister nor Perdue could help contain their competitive natures when predicting the outcome of the event. “I’m very excited about the teacher talent this time around and I think we’ve got a good shot at winning this year,” Leister said with an almost straight face.

“It will be a tight one,” said Perdue, “but I think eventually the teachers will pull it out by three points.” He then quietly added that he may or may not have paid off the score keeper, to ensure that his prediction will come to fruition by the end of the competition.

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